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HeadsUpGuys Save Lives

The HeadsUpGuys want everyone to know while there has never been reason for shame in suffering through clinical depression, there appears to some discrepancy however when it comes to gender balance.

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Affecting more than 840,000 men in Canada alone, the statistics in this country are staggering and clearly, depression among men remains largely in the shadows.

As the second leading cause of disability worldwide, male depression is also a major risk factor in suicide; a leading cause of death among Canadian men.

HeadsUpGuys Origins

The numbers surprised UBC student Mark Goodwin, who became involved in an initiative funded by the Movember Foundation of Canada while working for the University’s Men’s Health Research Network.

Under the leadership of Dr. John Ogrodniczuk and Dr. John Oliffe, Goodwin along with Joshua Beharry helped create that acts as an online resource to help men with depression.

“They received a Movember grant and were kind enough to offer me a position on one of the five projects that was funded,” says Goodwin of the numbers of those who suffer in silence.

“Depression wasn’t something I went into knowing much about but discovering the stats that are out there and realizing just how big depression is – it’s mind-blowing”.

Not having a direct personal connection to the disability, the 28 year old Richmond resident admits to having been drawn to masculine themes throughout his life and largely challenging their associated stereotypes noting “many of which have been a theme consistently throughout history, many of which have been in existence from works such as Beowulf and Shakespeare’s plays, right through to Modern Day.”

The subject of male depression gave cause for an opportunity to do something that ultimately would prove effective.

“I was interested in doing something that would challenge stereotypes but at the same time was really drawn to the fact that I could do something that could really make a positive difference,” he notes.

Though generally universal in its geographic reach and accessibility, HeadsUpGuys is primarily focused on males between the ages of 18 and 50 and the website serves as the ideal tool for respondents to begin on the road to recovery.

“Since the summer launch of the website we’ve had a lot of guys and supporters and partners and friends send us messages just to say how awesome it is and how it’s helped them,” says Goodwin.

“It’s not that guys need to be super sensitive or things like that; we really just wanted to re-frame some of those masculinity pieces, some of the more stereotypically bad things like needing to be tough and associating emotions with weakness and instead focusing on more positive masculinity traits like courage.

It’s a chance to re-frame the whole subject of Depression and be one of taking action.

“There’s definitely more awareness and it’s now becoming more acceptable to open up and speak about the subject as we saw recently with The Rock in his experiences with Depression.

“Real strength is taking the initiative to reach out and better oneself.”

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This article for BLUSHVancouver contributed by Joe Leery. Follow Joe on Twitter!

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